Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss brought in Magic Johnson as the team’s president of basketball operations last season with one goal in mind: To lead the Lakers back to prominence, and away from the league laughing stock status they had attained under Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss.
So far the results have been mixed on the floor, where the Lakers are currently firmly out of the playoff hunt but boast promising young talents such as Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma while playing some of the staunchest defense in the NBA.
Off the floor though, there is no question that Johnson and Jeanie Buss have radically shifted the perception of the Lakers around a league that now sees them as a threat to land superstar free agents like LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
For those achievements and their general business acumen, both Johnson and Buss were named to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s annual list of Sports Titans, commemorating the movers and shakers on the business side of the Los Angeles sports scene.
The Hall-of-Famer who led the Lakers to five NBA championships and is arguably the greatest point guard in the history of the league now makes all of the basketball decisions for the team he used to suit up for. Spearheading their efforts in the draft, free agency and everything in between.
But Johnson wasn’t recognized just for his contributions to the Lakers. He is also a prominent member of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group that built the National League champions, as well as owning a percentage of the e-sports franchise Team Liquid and the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), which will begin its debut season March 2018.
Buss, who graduated from USC in 1985, runs the business side of the Lakers and has helped build them into one of the most profitable professional sports organizations in the world and the second-most valuable NBA franchise, which Forbes valued at $3 billion.
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